8 MARCH 2021


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Article from BTNews 8 MARCH 2021

For railway buffs

“Britain’s historic railway buildings: a gazetteer of structures and sites”

This book, by railway historian Gordon Biddle, does what it says – it describes the many historic railway structures in Great Britain (and the Isle of Man) writes our railway expert Andrew Sharp.

It is a mighty tome weighing nearly 6lbs (2.56kg) and a well-illustrated 800 pages.

Railways date back to the 17th century, but in this country saw a very rapid expansion between 1844 and 1914 when many of their structures were built. Much of the railway we see today was built before 1914. Stations like Liverpool Street and Paddington and bridges like the Forth Bridge are among the 2,500 statutorily protected (Listed) buildings in the country – and the book includes a section in the introduction on the Listing process. All of these buildings and more are in the book.

The country is divided into 11 regions: each region has a section in the book. Each section starts with a brief (one or two page) description and a map of its rail network.

There is then an alphabetic listing by county of the structures. The book is well-illustrated with a lot of pictures.

Railways include London Underground and any minor railways with historic structures.

There are a few surprises – Blackheath station, for example is a tiny gem: part of the original 1837 Watford Junction station still exists. Camden is full of historic structures – for example the Roundhouse (now a live entertainment centre), the former railway stables (for delivering goods – at one time, if it wasn’t made locally, it came by train), and the cable winding station vaults (when Euston Station was built, trains were hauled by cable up the bank from the station – it was too steep for the locomotives of the day).

When I can travel again, I’ll certainly use this excellent book to see what I might see where I’m going – it’s a mine of information.

For a large selection of railway books go to Crecy www.crecy.co.uk/rail-titles

ISBN 978 07110 3491 4   £60

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